Michael Vick back in Va. to face state charges

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, shown here leaving federal court on August 27 in Richmond, Virginia, will be sentenced, Monday, Dec. 10, 2007. (Steve Helber-Pool/Getty Images)
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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Former NFL star Michael Vick is back in Virginia to face state dogfighting charges.

The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback is being held in protective custody at the Hopewell Regional Jail, superintendent Darnley Hodge said Friday.

Vick arrived Thursday afternoon from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where he's serving a 23-month sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy conviction. He was brought back by the Fugitive Unit of the Virginia State Police, which already had two other prisoners to pick up in the midwest, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Vick is isolated from the jail's approximately 1,200 inmates to avoid disruptions, but will be treated like any other prisoner, Hodge said.

Vick, 28, is due to appear Tuesday in Surry County Circuit Court, where he's expected to plead guilty to two felony counts in a deal with prosecutors that calls for a suspended sentence and probation.

The plea would resolve his last pending criminal charges, and his lawyers hope would make him eligible for early release from prison into a halfway house designed to ease he return to society. Only prisoners with no outstanding charges are eligible to participate in that program.

Vick's lawyers attempted last month to get permission for him to make his plea by videoconference, but Judge Samuel Campbell denied the request.

Vick was convicted of the federal charges last August when he admitted to bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in rural Surry County. He also admitted to participating in the killing of several underperforming dogs. Three co-defendants also pleaded guilty in the case.

The state charges - beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs and engaging in or promoting dogfighting - each carried a possible prison sentence of five years, but Vick's legal team and Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter agreed to the plea deal.

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